Earn the Right to Win – Tom Coughlin

Over the weekend I finished “Earn the Right to Win” by Tom Coughlin. A quick and smooth read and one I would recommend to anyone. In fact, it is one that I will be re-reading (either just chapters or the whole thing) when I need a refresher on what it takes to build a successful organization.

Coughlin has coached in the NCAA and the NFL – including stops at BC, Jacksonville and most recently the NY Giants. He has found success in every stop along the way and learned a lot about himself and what it means to be a successful coach. He includes anecdotes from each of his experiences and how he came to learn and realize the things that have made him successful.

He lays out his roadmap to success in six well-written chapters:

  • Build the Structure
  • The Time of Your Life: Scheduling
  • Success Is in the Details
  • Communication
  • Motivation
  • Hard Work Is Good Practice

It was fascinating to read how each experience made Coughlin a better coach and helped to further reinforce his strategy for success.

Preparation is the bottom line with Coughlin. Prepare every day for every situation and you’ll be successful. The more preparation and attention you put in, the higher your chances of success.

I highly recommend this book for any coach as great pre-season reading. It will get your gears going about improvements and changes you can make to your program to help you be more successful.

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The End of a Season

Every season has a beginning and an end. The nature of sports is that ends come before you are ready for them. Almost every team ends their season with a loss. You don’t expect to lose, you’re not ready for it to be over, but it ends. In sports, you control the process but not the outcome. The end of your season is dictated for you. These losses signify the end of a career for some, the beginning of a new chapter for others.

The offseason is long. Time heals wounds. The distance between the last game of this season and the first game of next season is far away.

You’re never more motivated than you are the day after your season ends. Thoughts of “What can I do differently?” “What if?” and “How can we be better?” bounce around your head for hours. Take advantage of this. Write them down. Make a plan. Utilize this motivation for good – channel it now for June and July when you need a boost to get after it in the gym or on the ice.

Don’t let time fade the pain of a missed opportunity. Seize the chance to better yourself and your team while you have it. Start your preparation and your process now. At the end of next season you’ll be happy you did.

Stress and Control

I had a thought over the weekend about stress and where it comes from. It might be different for different people, but for me stress comes from control.

Whenever I’m feeling stressed, it is because of a lack of feeling in control. Whether I am actually in control or not does not matter. It is the feeling of being in control or a lack of feeling in control that affects my stress levels.

The things that I measure myself by are what are important to me. When I don’t feel in control of those things, I feel stressed. This was a good lesson for me – how do I maintain a feeling of control?

Tackle the things that are important to you every single day. Get touches in on whatever it is that matters. If it is money, check your bank account. If it is family, pick up the phone. If it is a clean house, take out the trash and do the dishes. Do something every day to maintain a feeling of being in control over the things that matter.

Moving & Athletic Success

This weekend, my fiancee and I moved in to a new apartment. Why am I blogging about that? While I was lugging boxes and furniture up and down flights of stairs I couldn’t help but think of the similarities I found in my move and being successful in athletics.

Determination – After a day of picking up and putting down heavy objects, one more trip to pick up the last of your things is often the last thing you want to do. However, the same determination it takes to finish the task is what is needed in late in a game to overcome a deficit or hold on to a lead.

Communication – Moving a two beds, a sectional couch, two dressers, etc up a staircase with a bend in it requires communication. The two people moving need to talk about how they are going to manipulate the furniture up the staircase successfully. If one person needs to put the item down, if one person is moving too fast, whatever the circumstance is, it must be communicated. Moving as a pair requires constant communication – you have to know what your partner is doing. Team sports requires the exact same communication – you have to know what your teammates are doing and where they are going to help you be successful.

Planning – Moving is not a successful activity if you just pick things up, throw them in a box truck and drive to your new place. You have to have a plan of attack, a method to how and what you are going to move when. We ran into some rain and would not have finished our move if we had not planned successfully. Sports are the same way – you cannot be successful if you just go play, you have to have a plan to attack your opponent.

Mental Toughness – Late in the day, the last thing you want to do is start to unpack and put away your stuff. After a day of moving, you often want to just sit and relax. Having the mental toughness to finish the task and put things away will help you get ahead of the curve after your move.